1. Ecclesiastes 4:6 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

Summary of Ecclesiastes 4:6

Ecclesiastes 4:6 (ESV)

6 Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.

The reaction to knowing that our work and status does not help us beyond the grave, can lead to yet another extreme. It may be that someone only lives for his work. Surely he needs to use the talents he has received from God to the fullest? Isn’t that your calling? When you have become a slave to your work, the Lord shows us in this verse that this is not his intention and calling. He made us to work for him. This also includes rest and the enjoyment of life. Prior to the fall into sin, work and rest were a comprehensive whole. Afterwards there was the laborious work, ‘by the sweat of your face’. Toil is now necessary in order to be able to rest and to find enjoyment.

The Lord teaches us here that we should not work just to get as high as possible on the social ladder. If we can live well, we should be content with that. Then take the time to relax and enjoy. A hand filled with rest is a wonderful gift from God. When you learn to see this, you also realize how important peace and tranquility are in your life. Then you no longer want to live just for your work. Then you don’t want to be anxious about your job all the time. Then you also see how important it is to take time to live reverently before God. The Holy Spirit teaches this in Proverbs 15:16–17, “Better is little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure and trouble with it. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.”

Anyone who works like this and finds his rest in the Lord has this wonderful perspective for his life forever: “But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and no one shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken,” Micah 4:4